Saturday, May 22, 2010

How Awkward

I really hate awkward situations.

I know that's a bit of a given. I can't really think of anyone I know who would actually enjoy finding themselves saying something unintentionally racist at a job interview, but I will go out of my way to avoid even witnessing a particularly embarrassing moment. Cringe-inducing comedy films are my horror movies. When I watch something like Mr Bean, I have to sit there peeking through my fingers, frantically reminding myself that it's not really happening and that everyone involved is an actor.

There was a woman I used to see every Friday afternoon for a time period spanning several years. Her daughter had a saxophone lesson before I did, and I would talk to her while she waited to pick her up afterwards. After a while, I knew a lot about her. I knew her hobbies, her husband's annoying habits, her daughter's achievements. Unfortunately, I had never asked her name. And as you will know if you have ever watched a sitcom, the longer I knew her, the harder it was to ask her what her name was. Some people, let's just call them 'jerks', might argue that I'm an idiot for not just asking my sax teacher what the woman's name was. Well, jerks, let me take a moment to inform you that I did exactly that, but he didn't know either. Which I did find a tad bewildering.

Eventually I found out her name through a rather convenient picture in the local paper, but it was only after a good two or three years of gracefully dancing around ever having to address her by name. I will go to amazing lengths to avoid an awkward confrontation and to be honest, I think it's because my parents were exactly the same. We all, in unison, avoided having to talk about anything remotely confronting at all possible costs. Like how some kids develop allergies if they aren't exposed to certain toxins, I never worked up an immunity to embarrassment. My parents and I never had the 'Where did I come from?' talk or anything with as much potential for awkwardness as that. The closest we got was the 'Did you or did you not name me after Sarah Jane from Dr Who?' talk, which was not nearly as bad as anything sex-related could have been. For the record, this consisted of me asking that question and my mother telling me that they just liked the name. However, the fact that my father was standing behind her, wearing his Dr Who apron (which he wore around the house, even when he wasn't cooking) and giggling was enough to let me figure out what really happened here.

Not that I'm complaining, mind you.

-Smackie Onassis


  1. The easiest way to get around a name situation? Introduce somebody to them. It can be risky, but most people aren't jerks and will introduce themselves for you.

    Another good one: the fake poll. Not only do you get their name, but signature.

  2. I suppose a petition would also work! Or a mailing list?